#20DaysofH20 – Day 2: 1,2-Dichloroethane
1,2-Dichloroethane (DCA) is a hydrocarbon that is highly toxic in water, and in aquifers can have a half life of over 50 years. Long term consumption in water can increase risks of cancer, which is why most developed nations have developed regulatory guidelines on acceptable levels in drinking water – in the case of the EPA, the maximum content level allowed is 5 parts per billion.
DCA was discovered 1794. In the 20th century it proved itself as a more efficient compound for producing vinyl chloride (itself a key ingredient in PVC and other plastics and textiles) which accounts for 80% of its global use. It is also used in paint removers and degreasing solvents. Today it remains a “building block” chemical that, among other things, can be used to synthesize chlorine.